Author Topic: The Minimum Wage debate  (Read 8363 times)

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Offline Cool Chris

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The Minimum Wage debate
« on: January 27, 2014, 04:44:31 PM »
When we aren't talking about the Seahawks here, all we can seem to talk about in the Seattle/PNW area is the minimum wage. The city of SeaTac just passed an initiative raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. (and that huge drill they can't seem to get working).

http://your.kingcounty.gov/elections2/contests/measureinfo.aspx?cid=47908&eid=1258

Now the new Seattle mayor and our new city council (and Socialist Alternative Party) member are leading the charge for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle.

Meanwhile, several cities and states are seeing either ballot measures raising local minimum wages, or politicians are taking up the banner themselves.

Discuss.
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Online El Barto

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 05:14:52 PM »
The biggest employers in that area are already paying well over that (most likely). They won't care. The small businesses will get hit and plenty of them will move up the road a ways; I would. On the bright side, you'll probably see a sharp decrease in new coffee shops and fast food places. Terrible place to open a new franchise location.

And on behalf of my brother I feel compelled to point out that not one more person should get an increase in minimum wage until the fucking waiters get theirs.
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Offline lordxizor

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 06:39:13 PM »
I'm all for increasing the minimum wage, but $15 seems a bit steep.

Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 08:55:53 AM »
I'm all for increasing the minimum wage, but $15 seems a bit steep.


On the surface, yes, it does seem like a lot.


But like most things, context matters.

Offline Prog Snob

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 09:15:11 AM »
I'm all for increasing the minimum wage, but $15 seems a bit steep.


On the surface, yes, it does seem like a lot.


But like most things, context matters.

Interesting when you look at it that way.

Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 02:25:58 PM »
$15/hr everywhere in the country is a little absurd. $15/hr in Seattle is probably about right. If I lived in Seattle, I couldn't even afford to park a car (if I were to have to use one).

What I think is clear, is that the lower/middle class deserve more of the share of the wealth being generated in this country. The rich take too much. I highly doubt simply instituting a minimum wage increase is going to solve much of anything, as it just changes the numbers of something that is almost imaginary at this point anyways.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2014, 02:36:29 PM »
Good points, except for the Seattle part. Wage levels/minimums should be set at the local level. And arbitrary amounts like this are just that, arbitrary. This is not a solution.

Of course a high percentage of people who work in Seattle can't afford to live in Seattle. But being able to live there (or anywhere) is by no means a right. Most sensible people I know who work in Seattle live in outlying areas where the cost of living is much more reasonable. Saying "I can't afford to live in this ridiculously overpriced city, pay me more" isn't appropriate.
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Offline kirksnosehair

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2014, 12:17:03 PM »
I think you can probably point a finger directly back at our education system's massive failure in the last 20/30 years to keep pace with the rest of the developed world.  We used to rank at or near the top in just about every educational category.  I don't know what the solution is, but I'm almost positive it's a huge contributing factor to the "inequality crisis"




Online El Barto

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2014, 01:47:05 PM »
I think you can probably point a finger directly back at our education system's massive failure in the last 20/30 years to keep pace with the rest of the developed world.  We used to rank at or near the top in just about every educational category.  I don't know what the solution is, but I'm almost positive it's a huge contributing factor to the "inequality crisis"
To quote Judge Smails, the world needs ditch diggers too. This applies to Japan, Sweden and all of the other better educated countries than us. Yes, we're a comparatively uneducated country, but that shouldn't mean that uneducated people shouldn't be able to eek out a reasonable living. As with so many of our woes, I put the blame on arrogance and our hardassed nature towards personal accountability. "If you can't get by, you're just not trying hard enough!" Fucking savages.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2014, 02:17:32 PM »
The biggest employers in that area are already paying well over that (most likely). They won't care. The small businesses will get hit and plenty of them will move up the road a ways; I would. On the bright side, you'll probably see a sharp decrease in new coffee shops and fast food places. Terrible place to open a new franchise location.

And on behalf of my brother I feel compelled to point out that not one more person should get an increase in minimum wage until the fucking waiters get theirs.

What justification is there to give minimum wage to a worker that earns the bulk of their money from tips?  And a worker that rarely declares ALL their tips at that?  And a worker that at the end of the month earns way more that minumum wage?
I was in the biz for years and minimum wage for waiters makes precious little sense.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 05:42:10 PM »
The biggest employers in that area are already paying well over that (most likely). They won't care. The small businesses will get hit and plenty of them will move up the road a ways; I would. On the bright side, you'll probably see a sharp decrease in new coffee shops and fast food places. Terrible place to open a new franchise location.

And on behalf of my brother I feel compelled to point out that not one more person should get an increase in minimum wage until the fucking waiters get theirs.

What justification is there to give minimum wage to a worker that earns the bulk of their money from tips?  And a worker that rarely declares ALL their tips at that?  And a worker that at the end of the month earns way more that minumum wage?
I was in the biz for years and minimum wage for waiters makes precious little sense.
Because those tips don't necessarily equal the minimum wage (and definitely won't if they raise it to Obama's level). Besides which, there seems to be a whole lot of bullshit that goes on with regards to tipping down here. Waiters having to pay the bartenders, busboys and dishwashers out of their tips is ridiculous. And when you talk about not paying taxes on all of their tips, they actually have to overpay (because of that whole tipping out process). What isn't logged and itemized from CC sales is estimated (pretty reasonably, as I understand) and they're taxed on that. All of this is before tipping out all of the other employees (who are the ones probably not paying their taxes). I know my brother works full time at a respectable seafood place down here, and makes right at (or a hair above) the federal minimum wage. This is in line with the national average for tipped employees. Raise the federal minimum wage by 40%, as is the current discussion, and that won't effect the waitstaff at all.

All of this ignores the fact that expecting waiters to rely on tips at all is fucking bullshit, but that's a discussion we've had in other threads.
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Offline AngelBack

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2014, 06:01:50 PM »
I applaud all the generous folks here who want to decrease their standard of living to prop up those that pissed away their potential in life and ended up waiting tables or employed in  other non skilled "careers".  The employers are NOT going to take the increase out of their pockets, it just gets added to your bill when you buy a Big Mac or that new wardrobe from Old Navy...Occam's razor and natural selection bowed up in a 69 on this one.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2014, 06:14:51 PM »
The biggest employers in that area are already paying well over that (most likely). They won't care. The small businesses will get hit and plenty of them will move up the road a ways; I would. On the bright side, you'll probably see a sharp decrease in new coffee shops and fast food places. Terrible place to open a new franchise location.

And on behalf of my brother I feel compelled to point out that not one more person should get an increase in minimum wage until the fucking waiters get theirs.

What justification is there to give minimum wage to a worker that earns the bulk of their money from tips?  And a worker that rarely declares ALL their tips at that?  And a worker that at the end of the month earns way more that minumum wage?
I was in the biz for years and minimum wage for waiters makes precious little sense.
Because those tips don't necessarily equal the minimum wage (and definitely won't if they raise it to Obama's level). Besides which, there seems to be a whole lot of bullshit that goes on with regards to tipping down here. Waiters having to pay the bartenders, busboys and dishwashers out of their tips is ridiculous. And when you talk about not paying taxes on all of their tips, they actually have to overpay (because of that whole tipping out process). What isn't logged and itemized from CC sales is estimated (pretty reasonably, as I understand) and they're taxed on that. All of this is before tipping out all of the other employees (who are the ones probably not paying their taxes). I know my brother works full time at a respectable seafood place down here, and makes right at (or a hair above) the federal minimum wage. This is in line with the national average for tipped employees. Raise the federal minimum wage by 40%, as is the current discussion, and that won't effect the waitstaff at all.

All of this ignores the fact that expecting waiters to rely on tips at all is fucking bullshit, but that's a discussion we've had in other threads.

If tips and hourly pay dont equal minimum wage, they are already protected by minimum wage, and will be paid at least minimum wage.  Thats how it works.  I have seen it happen.  If minimum wage is increased, the business is responsible for getting their entire compensation up to minimum wage.  Raising the base hourly wage does absolutely nothing.  Yes, the waiter tips out to bartenders and busboys, etc, but they do not declare that as tips...they only declare what they walk with and are taxed accordingly.  Same with the busboy that gets the payout from the waiter. 
If your brother makes barely above minimum wage as a waiter, then it is not a "respectable seafood" restaurant.  Waiters at IHOP make well above minimum.  If he makes $8 an hour average as a waiter, then he needs to find a better job, or needs to be a better waiter.
But that is besides the point of this argument.  Waiters are protected by minimum wage laws.  If he isnt making minimum wage with hourly and tips, the restaurant has to pay him that difference.  If the minimum goes up, the restaurant is responsible.  So I dont see where the gripe is.  Dont like working as a waiter?  Do something else and get your hourly $8.  I made 45k a year as a waiter and that was 20 years ago.  Never had a problem with the 2$ hourly I got as it all went to taxes anyway.  We never got a paycheck.  I still haze ZERO salary, and work only on commission.
In short, waiters do get minimum wage, and waiters will get minimum wage if it goes up.  I just feel bad for any waiter that even thinks about minimum wage as they need to go to a new restaurant or get a new career.
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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2014, 06:16:23 PM »
Of course a high percentage of people who work in Seattle can't afford to live in Seattle. But being able to live there (or anywhere) is by no means a right. Most sensible people I know who work in Seattle live in outlying areas where the cost of living is much more reasonable. Saying "I can't afford to live in this ridiculously overpriced city, pay me more" isn't appropriate.

If you're working for minimum wage, a commute like living outside of Seattle is going to really add up. Maybe you can find a job out in the suburbs, but maybe not. Do you really expect a bgurger flipper to commute every day for what might be as low as $8/hr?

Add to that, the people living in the city, working of the mimum wage, are what allow the  city to exist in the first place, and who provide the services to the people living in the suburbs. It's not some greedy, "i want everything!" it's more of a rational, macroeconomic look at the issue. Poor people living in the city, providing services to other people, have the right (in my opinion) to a reasonable quality of life, assuming they work hard (which most of them do). And the rest of the country shouldn't be expected to foot the bill if they don't get paid well enough for said quality of life.


One thing I wish got more attention in the livable/minimum wage debate is how, when big corprations like Wal-mart pay shitty wages, it means a bigger social safety net for the rest of us to pay. So, because Wal-mart execs are a bunch of greedy assholes taking advantage of people who want to have a house to sleep in and food in their stomache, the rest of us have to essentially subsidize their profits. It's bullshit.


Online El Barto

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2014, 07:12:41 PM »
If tips and hourly pay dont equal minimum wage, they are already protected by minimum wage, and will be paid at least minimum wage.  Thats how it works.  I have seen it happen.  If minimum wage is increased, the business is responsible for getting their entire compensation up to minimum wage.  Raising the base hourly wage does absolutely nothing.  Yes, the waiter tips out to bartenders and busboys, etc, but they do not declare that as tips...they only declare what they walk with and are taxed accordingly.  Same with the busboy that gets the payout from the waiter. 
If your brother makes barely above minimum wage as a waiter, then it is not a "respectable seafood" restaurant.  Waiters at IHOP make well above minimum.  If he makes $8 an hour average as a waiter, then he needs to find a better job, or needs to be a better waiter.
But that is besides the point of this argument.  Waiters are protected by minimum wage laws.  If he isnt making minimum wage with hourly and tips, the restaurant has to pay him that difference.  If the minimum goes up, the restaurant is responsible.  So I dont see where the gripe is.  Dont like working as a waiter?  Do something else and get your hourly $8.  I made 45k a year as a waiter and that was 20 years ago.  Never had a problem with the 2$ hourly I got as it all went to taxes anyway.  We never got a paycheck.  I still haze ZERO salary, and work only on commission.
In short, waiters do get minimum wage, and waiters will get minimum wage if it goes up.  I just feel bad for any waiter that even thinks about minimum wage as they need to go to a new restaurant or get a new career.
I'll have dinner with him pretty soon and I'll clarify my details. I'm not real comfortable basing all of this on what I recall from dinner conversations. That said, I think there's a very big difference between different cities/states, as well as between the early 90s and the 2010's. There's also a difference between the sorts of people who manage restaurants, and at least in Dallas, waitstaff jobs aren't real easy to come by. It's not really the case that if you don't like your current employer you can tell him to fuck off and wait tables next door; might have been once, isn't now.

One thing I do recall is that taxes and deductions seem to be taken from their gross, not their net. That's enough to make a sizable difference. And despite the fact that he enjoys his job quite a bit, he is looking to get into something that will pay a decent wage. Waiting tables in Dallas just doesn't.


I applaud all the generous folks here who want to decrease their standard of living to prop up those that pissed away their potential in life and ended up waiting tables or employed in  other non skilled "careers".  The employers are NOT going to take the increase out of their pockets, it just gets added to your bill when you buy a Big Mac or that new wardrobe from Old Navy...Occam's razor and natural selection bowed up in a 69 on this one.
Damn. And people think I'm a bitter old bastard.

Naive vitriol aside, I agree with a lot of your point. I'm well aware that the cost gets passed along which is why I'm not much of a fan of minimum wages in general. That said, I think it's a pretty shitty commentary on life in what we joking call the greatest nation on Earth that so many people performing meaningful and useful jobs should be relegated to poverty while people like you think that it's their choice or their mistake.
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Offline orcus116

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2014, 08:47:31 PM »
Probably based on more of a personal opinion, but what exactly is a $15/hr job worth? On a side note, people should be clamoring more for benefits than a pay raise. It's those kind of insurance costs that skyrocket if you're not covered. Forget basic medical bills, it's worth it not to have a few extra beers a month not to drop hundreds of dollars at the eye doctor or the dentist every year.

Offline AngelBack

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2014, 09:26:32 PM »
Barto,

Nothing naive or vitriolic here.  Bitter?  I live a great life and begrudge no one anything they earned.  You ever owned a business??  I did for many years and had to make payroll every week of around 75k.  I know the value of a dollar and the effort it takes to make one.  And what is so useful about "you want fries with that"?  Those jobs do nothing to serve society, they are only useful to train entry level workers what reality in the market place is.  Your ideas are based on entitlement and you are truly the naive one if you think that rewarding a lack of determination to better oneself and succeed is some recipe for economic success for the individual or society.  And again to my point.....who pays for these increases????  And for the MOST part, it is about choices...study or get high....go to college to get a leg up on the competition or play COD and jerk off all day.  Play the lottery or save and invest...this is not that hard. 

Again, these issues are not complicated, but they are made so by those who placate their desire to feel good about themselves by "championing" those who choose the easier road in life and get wrecked when reality kicks their ass.  Those who seek to enable the capable but unmotivated are part of the problem.  And the bigger picture is that societal engineering and liberal social agendas have done nothing but breed all the fight out of this country.

I know there are exceptions, but for the most part we are all EXACTLY where we are in life because of the choices we have made.  Ask any self made successful person.  They didn't expect anyone to go to bat to make their lives any easier, they took it upon themselves to do what needed to be done to improve their lives.  There are some really intelligent folks that fall to the left of my world view on this board, but this one baffles me.  Give a man a fish, teach a man to fish....blah blah blah   
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 09:48:19 PM by AngelBack »
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Offline The King in Crimson

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2014, 11:15:59 PM »
And what is so useful about "you want fries with that"?  Those jobs do nothing to serve society, they are only useful to train entry level workers what reality in the market place is. 
These jobs are the backbone of society. These are the people that serve you, clean your tables, wash your dishes, bag your groceries, take your money. To say they don't serve society is to undermine and sneer at an entire class of people that largely makes your way of life possible. The people in China that build your phones, the people in Africa that sew your sweaters and assemble your shoes and the people in India that answer your annoying calls about how 'cupholder in your computer is broken.' Our life of excess would be far, far more expensive were it not for these people that do the jobs that "don't serve society."

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Your ideas are based on entitlement and you are truly the naive one if you think that rewarding a lack of determination to better oneself and succeed is some recipe for economic success for the individual or society.
The economy actually improves when poor and middle class folks have more money to spend. Rich people tend to save any extra money they make since they usually don't need that money, but poor and middle class spend it since they have bills and expenses that need to be paid along with groceries and gas. So extra money to the minimum wage crowd = extra money into the economy = more money for people working in the economy. Which, of course = economic success for the individual and society.

Now, you could argue that that extra 50 cents per big mac might eat into the middle-class family's disposable income and that would be true were it not for the fact that as poor, minimum wagers spend more, middle class and rich folks directly benefit as the economy gets better.

So yay.

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And again to my point.....who pays for these increases???? 
I dunno. Who pays for all the wars? Who pays for all the tax cuts to the rich? Who pays for the banks to get bailed out? Who paid for Dubya to go on 40 fucking vacations during his time in office? Who pays to fund the excesses of rich oil tycoons? Who pays for all the military contractors and defense spending that we really don't need? Who pays when an insurance company wants to make a few extra bucks by refusing treatment to ill people? Who pays when insurance company, health care provider and pharmaceutical company fight over their billions in profits?

Answer: we all do but GOD FORBID we pay to increase the minimum wage just a tad. Blow up brown people with drones? Sure, that's a good way to spend money. Poor people in America? Fuck 'em.

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And for the MOST part, it is about choices...study or get high....go to college to get a leg up on the competition or play COD and jerk off all day.  Play the lottery or save and invest...this is not that hard. 
This is a horseshit argument that relies entirely on the premise that the poor are poor because they are lazy. Are some poor people lazy and leeching off the system? Yeah, of course there are. But then again, that doesn't mean there aren't poor people out there who weren't just dealt a shit hand in life while some rich kid lives off mommy and daddy's inheritance while jerking off and playing CoD on his 62" plasma TV.  So yeah, generalizations are real useful.

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Again, these issues are not complicated, but they are made so by those who placate their desire to feel good about themselves by "championing" those who choose the easier road in life and get wrecked when reality kicks their ass. 
Actually, I'd just prefer to think that I just have actual empathy, but "placating their desire to feel good about themselves by "championing" those who choose the easier road in life and get wrecked when reality kicks their ass" does sound good on a cereal box.

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Those who seek to enable the capable but unmotivated are part of the problem.
I'm still a bit hazy on how raising the minimum wage enables the unmotivated. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you do still need to work to make minimum wage right? This isn't like food-stamps or EBT or welfare or anything.  These people still need to work. So I don't see how they're unmotivated. Oh I guess they might be unmotivated to go to college especially on their extravagant 8.25 an hour salary. Not because of the money involved, no no, but because college eats into the poor minimum wager's precious weed and Scrubs time after an exhausting 3-1/2 hour shift of not serving society.

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And the bigger picture is that societal engineering and liberal social agendas have done nothing but breed all the fight out of this country.
Thankfully we still have conservative social agendas against minorities, gays and women to help keep this country strong!

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I know there are exceptions, but for the most part we are all EXACTLY where we are in life because of the choices we have made. 
This is true. Choices do affect our outcomes in life. It's just too bad that we live in a society where one or two bad choices can screw you for a lifetime.

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Ask any self made successful person. 
No thanks. Most are blowhard assholes.

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They didn't expect anyone to go to bat to make their lives any easier, they took it upon themselves to do what needed to be done to improve their lives. 
So I assume you talked to every self-made successful person, got their life story and compiled it all together to get this one verifiable fact? Color me impressed.

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There are some really intelligent folks that fall to the left of my world view on this board,
Gee thanks. Forgive me if I don't applaud.

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but this one baffles me.  Give a man a fish, teach a man to fish....blah blah blah   
Except raising the minimum wage isn't really giving a man a fish and we don't do shit to teach them how to fish either so your analogy is flawed. If anything, raising the minimum wage is like giving a man a bigger stick and saying 'Have at it buddy.'

Now, I can understand some reticence on raising the minimum wage. Honestly, to me, it seems like a patch on a problem, a band-aid on a leaky pool. Raising the minimum wage would give more money to the people working these jobs, but in a few years as prices rise, the cycle will have started all over again and we'll be having this discussion again, only I'll have a beard and an eye-patch, because I'll be a pirate in the future. Raising the minimum wage isn't going to fix the problem. Hell, nothing will ever 'fix the problem.' There will always be poor and underpaid wage-slaves, that's how our society functions. Now, what we can do is make it possible that those who do want to get out of their poverty trap have an easier time of it because getting out of poverty can be very difficult for most folks. Some do manage it, but they are the exceptions. 

The fact of the matter is, these people who work these shit jobs enable the rest of us that don't work shit jobs to live our over-consumerized lives where we can buy the shit we don't need at prices that are largely affordable.  And as the scum-sucking capitalist that I am, I want to keep on doing that. I love buying my shit that I don't need and I want to continue doing that and if that requires tossing a bone to the folks that sling my burgers, package the CD's I buy at Amazon or stock the shelves at the local Walgreens, then so be it. Throw them a bone.  If I have to pay a bit more for the shit I don't need or cut back on some of the shit I don't need, that's fair. I've worked those jobs. I know what unrelenting assholes people can be. They deserve a bit of a bone thrown every now and again so that the rest of us can continue to live our pretty damn good lives. Raising the minimum wage won't fix the problem, but it'll hold the pool together for a little while longer until we figure out a more permanent fix.

No society that traps the poor beneath the bootheels of the privileged is a worthwhile one.

Offline Cool Chris

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2014, 10:58:38 AM »
If you're working for minimum wage, a commute like living outside of Seattle is going to really add up. Maybe you can find a job out in the suburbs, but maybe not. Do you really expect a bgurger flipper to commute every day for what might be as low as $8/hr?

Add to that, the people living in the city, working of the mimum wage, are what allow the  city to exist in the first place, and who provide the services to the people living in the suburbs. It's not some greedy, "i want everything!" it's more of a rational, macroeconomic look at the issue. Poor people living in the city, providing services to other people, have the right (in my opinion) to a reasonable quality of life, assuming they work hard (which most of them do). And the rest of the country shouldn't be expected to foot the bill if they don't get paid well enough for said quality of life.

I barely make above $15/hour and commute every day to Seattle. I hate it, but I do it to support my family. And while I recognize most of the high-paying jobs are going to be in Seattle (or Bellevue/Redmond), if you are ‘flipping burgers’ in Seattle, you could probably do the same in a suburb for the same income with a lower cost of living and shorter commute. 

I agree with the principle of your second paragraph (and the third), but don’t think an arbitrary 60% (or whatever) pay raise is the answer. Maybe the issue is the ‘reasonable quality of life” they deserve. When news stories abound with tales of the family with four trying to buy a house on minimum wage, it is hard to be sympathetic. When I was growing up and making minimum wage, I got an apartment with some friends, bought used stuff, ate ramen, and didn’t pop out kids like a Duggar.

Probably based on more of a personal opinion, but what exactly is a $15/hr job worth? On a side note, people should be clamoring more for benefits than a pay raise. It's those kind of insurance costs that skyrocket if you're not covered. Forget basic medical bills, it's worth it not to have a few extra beers a month not to drop hundreds of dollars at the eye doctor or the dentist every year.

Indeed. A job is theoretically worth what the consumer thinks it is worth. I am curious to see how this all plays out in SeaTac. Some businesses have said they will close up, or move.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2014, 11:20:54 AM »
Short on time, but a quick reply to AB's post. First off, no hostility intended here. Minimum wages are a tricky thing, and in many ways you and I are in agreement. Again, my beef really is that we've let this society get to a point where we're kind of stuck with the paradigm of work and and live well or just die already, rather than a defense of increasing minimum wages.

As for a couple of your specific points, I wasn't completely joking when I quoted Judge Smails. The world really does need ditch diggers. There's all kinds of grunt work that really does need to be done, and the people that do them should be able to support themselves doing them. Furthermore, do you really think that all people have equal opportunities and equal capabilities? They don't. There are plenty of people with the smarts and the wherewithal to go out and make a fortune, and there are plenty of people who for whatever reason don't have that in them. I don't think it's strictly a choice that not everybody goes out and creates US Steel.

I'll also point out, in my continuing beef with American society, that part of the problem is that by perpetuating this system we've all become somewhat spoiled. The wait staff thing is a good example. If we'd never adopted the model where restaurants rely on the customers to pay their employees, then we'd be used to paying a slightly higher price for meals. When I grew up there were restaurants that specifically noted at the door "we pay our employees well, please don't tip them." It was a model that seemed to work. Along the way that gradually changed so that eating out prices stayed artificially low because we paid the employees separately. Now we're at a point where a sudden 15% price hike in dining out would seem huge, and unfortunately most people here don't really think things through enough to realize that paying $12 for what was $10 last week isn't really a big deal if you're no longer paying the waitstaff separately. This applies to burgers, Old Navy clothing and your Starbuck's crap-water.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2014, 12:54:32 PM »
But not all occupations should, or even can, be flat wage based.  It has existed in the food industry for so long becaues it works....especially for the worker.  It gives them the ability to make more than the flat wage, and that is why so many go into that industry.  The better servers get the better sections, and the better pay.  I fully agree with the system, and agree with it in many other industries.  Giving the waiter the floor base pay with the minimum wage, but the opportunity to do better, is the best system.  It is a simple fact of human nature that waiters will work harder and be nicer to the table if a tip is at stake.  Same with stock brokers, car salesman, etc.  It works as a form of compensation, as long as there is some base like the minimum wage.
Just my opinion.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2014, 01:05:34 PM »
If I thought it worked that way, then I might be inclined to agree with you (might, I'm a big fan of simplified billing). The problem is that I don't think it necessarily works that way in practice. I don't think the base pay thing works out, and I don't think tipping is really a reflection of quality of service.

And don't get me started on commissioned sales. Agents who provide an added service or a service that a normal person couldn't do on their own deserve compensation. Car salesmen, whose entire job revolves around getting the most possible money out of a buyer, shouldn't exist at all.
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Offline The King in Crimson

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2014, 01:05:50 PM »
But not all occupations should, or even can, be flat wage based.  It has existed in the food industry for so long becaues it works....especially for the worker.  It gives them the ability to make more than the flat wage, and that is why so many go into that industry.  The better servers get the better sections, and the better pay.  I fully agree with the system, and agree with it in many other industries.  Giving the waiter the floor base pay with the minimum wage, but the opportunity to do better, is the best system.  It is a simple fact of human nature that waiters will work harder and be nicer to the table if a tip is at stake.  Same with stock brokers, car salesman, etc.  It works as a form of compensation, as long as there is some base like the minimum wage.
Just my opinion.
Except it doesn't take into account people who are cheap assholes and don't tip well regardless of the quality of service. Now you could argue that that is simply one of the pitfalls of the industry and really no different than your boss being cheap and not handing out quality raises to those who deserve them and I'd kinda agree. I'm just pointing out the other side of the argument that being a good server won't automatically make you more money.

Also the service industry in Europe seems to get by with a flat, non-tip based wage system.

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2014, 01:10:53 PM »
But not all occupations should, or even can, be flat wage based.  It has existed in the food industry for so long becaues it works....especially for the worker.  It gives them the ability to make more than the flat wage, and that is why so many go into that industry.  The better servers get the better sections, and the better pay.  I fully agree with the system, and agree with it in many other industries.  Giving the waiter the floor base pay with the minimum wage, but the opportunity to do better, is the best system.  It is a simple fact of human nature that waiters will work harder and be nicer to the table if a tip is at stake.  Same with stock brokers, car salesman, etc.  It works as a form of compensation, as long as there is some base like the minimum wage.
Just my opinion.
Except it doesn't take into account people who are cheap assholes and don't tip well regardless of the quality of service. Now you could argue that that is simply one of the pitfalls of the industry and really no different than your boss being cheap and not handing out quality raises to those who deserve them and I'd kinda agree. I'm just pointing out the other side of the argument that being a good server won't automatically make you more money.

Also the service industry in Europe seems to get by with a flat, non-tip based wage system.

But over the course of a week, with the number of tables you wait on, it always evens out.  You get shitty tippers, and you get huge tippers.  But it always averages out.  You will make more money if you have the better section, if you have regulars that request you, etc....and that is the incentive to be better at your job.
Europe gets by Im sure just fine.  But if you are a go-getter that wants more, you will just have to settle for your flat wage.
I will take the tipping/bonus/commission/incentive structure all day long.  I have been working that way all my life and I will NEVER go back.  Better job security, higher pay, flexible schedule.
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Offline eric42434224

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2014, 01:13:55 PM »
If I thought it worked that way, then I might be inclined to agree with you (might, I'm a big fan of simplified billing). The problem is that I don't think it necessarily works that way in practice. I don't think the base pay thing works out, and I don't think tipping is really a reflection of quality of service.

And don't get me started on commissioned sales. Agents who provide an added service or a service that a normal person couldn't do on their own deserve compensation. Car salesmen, whose entire job revolves around getting the most possible money out of a buyer, shouldn't exist at all.

But it does work that way in practice.  Not always on an individual table level, but over weeks and months it ABSOLUTELY works.  100%

And people can prepare their own food, find appropriate investments, and dig their own ditches too.  Dont go down that road.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2014, 07:50:09 PM »
Thing is, no one can seem to agree on what is an appropriate tip so the tipping system is set up for failure. For some people, good service is a 25%-30% tip. For others, the world always sucks so here's a dollar, have a nice day.

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2014, 09:34:10 PM »
Thing is, no one can seem to agree on what is an appropriate tip so the tipping system is set up for failure. For some people, good service is a 25%-30% tip. For others, the world always sucks so here's a dollar, have a nice day.
My understanding of it is that's an area where Eric is right. Good tippers and bad tippers will even each other out. Where you do run into a problem is, say, during an economic downturn, where people eat out less and tip less. Everything goes down uniformly at that point.
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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2014, 02:14:18 AM »
I always tip 20%. That's normal right?

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2014, 09:46:21 AM »
My baseline is 15%, but exceptional service normally gets quite a bit more.  I rarely go under 15%, even with less than awesome service.

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2014, 09:52:14 AM »
I always tip 20%. That's normal right?

I always tip 20% unless there were some circumstances that caused me not to be as charitable or if the waitress was really hot.  In that case I use her cup size as the percentage.   ;)

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2014, 10:07:01 AM »
***snipped***
Now, I can understand some reticence on raising the minimum wage. Honestly, to me, it seems like a patch on a problem, a band-aid on a leaky pool. Raising the minimum wage would give more money to the people working these jobs, but in a few years as prices rise, the cycle will have started all over again and we'll be having this discussion again, only I'll have a beard and an eye-patch, because I'll be a pirate in the future. Raising the minimum wage isn't going to fix the problem. Hell, nothing will ever 'fix the problem.' There will always be poor and underpaid wage-slaves, that's how our society functions. Now, what we can do is make it possible that those who do want to get out of their poverty trap have an easier time of it because getting out of poverty can be very difficult for most folks. Some do manage it, but they are the exceptions. 

The fact of the matter is, these people who work these shit jobs enable the rest of us that don't work shit jobs to live our over-consumerized lives where we can buy the shit we don't need at prices that are largely affordable.  And as the scum-sucking capitalist that I am, I want to keep on doing that. I love buying my shit that I don't need and I want to continue doing that and if that requires tossing a bone to the folks that sling my burgers, package the CD's I buy at Amazon or stock the shelves at the local Walgreens, then so be it. Throw them a bone.  If I have to pay a bit more for the shit I don't need or cut back on some of the shit I don't need, that's fair. I've worked those jobs. I know what unrelenting assholes people can be. They deserve a bit of a bone thrown every now and again so that the rest of us can continue to live our pretty damn good lives. Raising the minimum wage won't fix the problem, but it'll hold the pool together for a little while longer until we figure out a more permanent fix.

No society that traps the poor beneath the bootheels of the privileged is a worthwhile one.


That was EPIC




You know what really honks my horn about the whole "minimum wage" debate is we could solve the problem by tying it to the cost of living index (COLI).  That's a fair way of doing it. 


Let's face it, "Minimum Wage" is going to exist in one form or another in perpetuity.  No way that toothpaste is going back in the tube now.  So, you tie it to the COLI.  Think about it...the COLI also fluctuates based on region, city, state, population density (etc, all objective measurements), right?   It could work, I think.  The devil, of course, is in the details.  :-\   




Offline Implode

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2014, 10:48:34 AM »
I always tip 20% as well.

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2014, 11:01:37 AM »
Slightly off topic, but last week we were at Denny's and there was a baby cockroach crawling on the wall next to our booth. Should I have raised a stink, or should they have offered a discount, cause all they did offer was to move us to another booth. I'm not the kind of person to get irate at cashiers or servers, but what would you guys have done? walked out? It wasn't a German Cockroach at least. I might have left if it was.


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Offline Scheavo

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2014, 04:38:36 PM »
If you're working for minimum wage, a commute like living outside of Seattle is going to really add up. Maybe you can find a job out in the suburbs, but maybe not. Do you really expect a bgurger flipper to commute every day for what might be as low as $8/hr?

Add to that, the people living in the city, working of the mimum wage, are what allow the  city to exist in the first place, and who provide the services to the people living in the suburbs. It's not some greedy, "i want everything!" it's more of a rational, macroeconomic look at the issue. Poor people living in the city, providing services to other people, have the right (in my opinion) to a reasonable quality of life, assuming they work hard (which most of them do). And the rest of the country shouldn't be expected to foot the bill if they don't get paid well enough for said quality of life.

I barely make above $15/hour and commute every day to Seattle. I hate it, but I do it to support my family. And while I recognize most of the high-paying jobs are going to be in Seattle (or Bellevue/Redmond), if you are ‘flipping burgers’ in Seattle, you could probably do the same in a suburb for the same income with a lower cost of living and shorter commute. 

$15/hr is twice the minimum federal wage (don't know what it currently is in Seattle), so I would say you're better off then other people.

But beyond that, it's nice to think that's possible, but there are a limited number of burger flipping jobs in the suburbs. You can't just move anywhere and get a job. Cities, by their very being, have a lot of low paying jobs. It's where people will congregate, it's where jobs will be to service those people, and etc. So it's nice to say, and the individual, every now and then, can get away with that. But it's not a solution for the masses.

Quote
I agree with the principle of your second paragraph (and the third), but don’t think an arbitrary 60% (or whatever) pay raise is the answer. Maybe the issue is the ‘reasonable quality of life” they deserve. When news stories abound with tales of the family with four trying to buy a house on minimum wage, it is hard to be sympathetic. When I was growing up and making minimum wage, I got an apartment with some friends, bought used stuff, ate ramen, and didn’t pop out kids like a Duggar.

I've never seen a story about a family of four, on minimum wage, buying a house. And even if they were, that's just an anecdote, and shouldn't taken to represent the general populace. I agree with some of the sentiment, that people need to reassess what they have around them, but then we start getting into cultural issues, and sustainability.


Offline The King in Crimson

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Re: The Minimum Wage debate
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2014, 11:36:04 PM »
But not all occupations should, or even can, be flat wage based.  It has existed in the food industry for so long becaues it works....especially for the worker.  It gives them the ability to make more than the flat wage, and that is why so many go into that industry.  The better servers get the better sections, and the better pay.  I fully agree with the system, and agree with it in many other industries.  Giving the waiter the floor base pay with the minimum wage, but the opportunity to do better, is the best system.  It is a simple fact of human nature that waiters will work harder and be nicer to the table if a tip is at stake.  Same with stock brokers, car salesman, etc.  It works as a form of compensation, as long as there is some base like the minimum wage.
Just my opinion.
Except it doesn't take into account people who are cheap assholes and don't tip well regardless of the quality of service. Now you could argue that that is simply one of the pitfalls of the industry and really no different than your boss being cheap and not handing out quality raises to those who deserve them and I'd kinda agree. I'm just pointing out the other side of the argument that being a good server won't automatically make you more money.

Also the service industry in Europe seems to get by with a flat, non-tip based wage system.

But over the course of a week, with the number of tables you wait on, it always evens out.  You get shitty tippers, and you get huge tippers.  But it always averages out.  You will make more money if you have the better section, if you have regulars that request you, etc....and that is the incentive to be better at your job.
Europe gets by Im sure just fine.  But if you are a go-getter that wants more, you will just have to settle for your flat wage.
I will take the tipping/bonus/commission/incentive structure all day long.  I have been working that way all my life and I will NEVER go back.  Better job security, higher pay, flexible schedule.
Having not worked a tip-based job in... ever, I will just cede that you are probably right. I was just pointing out that this type of job can function on a flat-based wage. Whether it's better or worse? I don't know.  I've never been to Europe. :)

Personally (anecdote time), I don't think I've ever tipped anyone more than the standard 20%. I've just never had service so good that it really demanded anymore. If I buy something cheap at a restaurant, then yes, I'll tip higher because even if I have a got a salad and a soda, the server still likely has to do an equal amount of work than if I got a steak and wine. Does that make me an asshole? Maybe, but I sometimes wonder how many people differ in their approach. I can imagine bartenders rake in the cash though. I usually tip pretty handsomely to bartenders, no doubt thanks to the presence of alcohol.

Conversely, I rarely penalize waiters for terrible service but maybe that's just because I've only very rarely had service so bad that I've felt the need to reduce the tip. I can think of maybe one instance from like ten years ago... and I still feel kinda bad when I think about it.

That was EPIC
Thanks.

I've just been really, really sick of this whole 'poor people are poor leechers because they are lazy and don't work hard' crap that's been going around since the last election. It's been around before then, but it really seemed to pick up a lot of traction around 2011 and 2012 and it's gotten no less infuriating since. The fact that when people take potshots at the rich it's considered 'class warfare,' but when the poor are targeted and no one gives a shit really shows how deplorable our society can be.

Statements like the above entirely ignore that the world is a complex place full of competing and interconnected systems that make things the way they are and boils it down to what is essentially a soundbite. A really stupid and offensive soundbite. As with all soundbites there's a kernel of truth hidden somewhere within, but it's so vastly over inflated to the point of uselessness. A lot of people can look at something like that and say 'I am successful because I worked hard and I deserve to be successful' and it makes them feel good about themselves. THEY succeeded where others failed because THEY are better. For some people, this is true. Jeff Bezos is way better than me and so are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and even human sacks of shit like Rush Limbaugh. He found a market for his 'skills' and, for better or worse, he successfully exploited it and is living quite handsomely.  But, like the case with poor people, I know for a fact that not every successful person got there by yanking on their bootstraps, bleeding sweat and working hard.  Some people are born into it and some people are just damn lucky.

While I am by no means wealthy and I have made mistakes in my life, I can honestly look back from where I am now and say that I am the way I am today because I worked hard, because I had people who loved me and supported me and because I was just goddamn lucky. It could very easily be me unemployed right now after a majority of my coworkers got laid off in the wake of the 2007 and 2008 financial meltdown, but I was lucky enough to be the least paid schlub on the ladder that I got to keep my job even when prospects were quite dim.

Saying 'I am successful because I worked hard and I deserve to be successful' sounds a helluva lot better than 'I am successful for a multitude of reasons that would take longer than a single statement to list.'